Things to see & do

The Abbey

Exterior of Buckland Abbey © NTPL Derek Croucher

Exterior of Buckland Abbey

Buckland was established as a monastery in 1278 and Cistercian monks prospered here for 250 years. When Henry VIII threw them out, Sir Richard Grenville moved in and converted the Abbey into a house. Later Sir Francis Drake and his family lived here making more and more modifications to the former Abbey, until eventually the National Trust took over in the 20th Century.

The gardens

Flowers blooming the the Elizabethan garden © National Trust

Flowers blooming the the Elizabethan garden

Our gardens were described in 1754 as ‘running wild’ but nowadays they’re a bit tamer. You'll find magnificent flowering shrubs and trees, an Elizabethan garden and a working kitchen garden that’s planted as we think it would have been during the monks’ time.

The countryside

Great North Woods, Buckland Abbey, Devon © Andrew Wrayford

Great North Woods, Buckland Abbey, Devon

With over 400 acres and four different colour-coded walks you can explore our farmland, meadows and woodlands. Enjoy views of the Abbey, Tavy river valley, Dartmoor and Cornwall and uncover fascinating stories of Buckland Abbey’s past.

Our Costume Group

Buckland Abbey Costume Group chatting in the morning sun © Julian Palmer

Buckland Abbey Costume Group chatting in the morning sun

We have a very talented and active volunteer costume group. Authenticity is key – they make patterns and clothes typical of every era of our long history. You’re welcome to see them in the sewing room at the Abbey on Tuesday mornings. Also watch for volunteers occasionally wandering around the gardens in costume and join in on costume days. Maybe you’ll find your own inner Mr Darcy or Elizabeth I! 

What's on?

Whether you're visiting on your own or with your family, we have a full range of events and activities for all ages. Take a look at our events page to find out everything that's happening.

For groups

We have all sorts of ideas for your group to see and do here and we'd love to see you. Ring us on 01822 853607 and we'll help you plan your visit.

Don't miss

  • The view of the abbey from the green walk
  • The harmonium in the chapel
  • Trying on a Tudor costume
  • The letterbox trail
  • The sheer size of the Great Barn
  • Our Spinning Spots and family activity packs